Dennis Kane’s Excellent Montreal Canadiens Blog

Changing Daily, And Full of Stuff You May Or May Not Remember

Psychedelic Pucks, Ilya Kovalchuk, And Gary Bettman’s Erotic Dreams May 18, 2008

Ilya kovalchuk scored in overtime against Canada to give Russia the gold medal in the World Championship.

Wasn’t Ilya Kovalchuk The Man From Uncle’s cool sidekick?

Remember when Kovalchuk, in the World Junior’s a few years back, skated in on a breakaway to Canada’s empty net and waved one arm as he went in?

I’ve always wondered why someone hasn’t smashed their stick across his face since then in payback for such a showboat move.

In other news:

Did you know that Versus TV is thinking about bringing back the tracking puck? Remember it? It was around for a season back in the 1980’s, or maybe it was the 1970’s, when NBC, or ABC, or CBS, decided that American fans couldn’t see the puck very well, so these pucks had a coloured flare on it on TV for these blind Americans.

It was horrible, distracting, and ridiculous. A survey at the time showed that Canadian hockey fans couldn’t figure out why any of this was necessary. The common consensus was that Canadian hockey fans had no problem at all seeing the puck, so why couldn’t Americans?

I read back then that when one of these pucks went into the stands, ushers went looking for them and made the fans give them back because they cost over $200 each.

People still make jokes about these tracking pucks. And now they might be coming back. Imagine.

In other news:

Pittsburgh has taken out the Philadelphia Flyers in a lopsided 6-0 game in a lopsided five-game series. Good riddance to the Flyers.  Flyer fan Frank the Tank says the Flyers are the most exciting team in hockey.

So all we need now is for Detroit to finish off Dallas so we can see Crosby and Malkin take on Datsyuk and Zetterburg.

Anyway, it’s summer, and I’ll watch if it doesn’t get in the way of me going to the beer store, or working, or cutting the lawn, or playing with the cat. I’m still recovering from the Habs.

Cripes, where are those damned Expos?

Pittsburgh and Detroit are exactly what Gary Bettman has dreamed about when his wife rolls over and goes to sleep.  Wouldn’t want a Canadian team in the final.

Heaven forbid. 

And the blog carries on.

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And All Along I Thought Winnipeggers Were Nice May 15, 2008

Geez, I thought people in Winnipeg were nice people. But it turns out they’re no different than a couple of people in other cities. Surprisingly, some Winnipeggers don’t like the Habs.  I don’t understand it, but it’s the way of the world, I suppose. Who would’ve thought?

So I say to these Winnipeg Hab-haters, may one of your smaller mosquitos land on your head, pick you up by the hair, and drop you into a haystack with a pitchfork in it.

Here’s what I mean.

Recent letters to the Winnipeg Sun:

 

From GM Ross.

This message is directed to the most overrated, over-hyped and probably whiniest bunch of sore losers, along with their fans. To the Montreal Canadiens: Na, na, na, na, hey, hey, good riddance. And take your homer referees with you. Ole, ole.

 

From Jeff Morris:

Nigel Gauvreau needs to calm down and take a look outside the real world (Mail Bag, May 3). No one cares about Montreal winning the Cup, and all Habs fans have to show for during the past 15 years is that they nearly burned down the city when they beat Boston. Since the same thing happened back when Rocket Richard was suspended, that’s nothing new. Besides, at least the Leafs are looking for a GM who will turn them into a Stanley Cup contender.

 

From Chris Maher:

 

The best thing about the Montreal Canadiens being knocked out of the playoffs will be not having to listen any longer to the Chairman of the Carey Price fan club, CBC’s Greg Millen.

Don Cherry got ripped for pulling for the Leafs or Bruins, but at least if you’re annoyed with Grapes’ views, one has to hear him for only a few minutes at a time.

But Millen goes on for 60 minutes about the Canadiens goalie and his great positioning and rebound control and seems to be over the top with gushing compliments on simple wrist shots from the blue line.

Even without high-definition, one could see the No. 31 Habs sweater under his CBC blazer.

Don’t get me wrong, Price is a great young goalie with potentially a great future ahead of him, whom 29 other teams would covet. But Millen, having been only an average NHL goaltender himself, seemed to be living vicariously through the young Montreal netminder. And when Price began contributing more and more to the Canadiens’ losses and eventual elimination, Millen only then realized the real star of the series was the Flyers’ RJ Umberger, a fourth-line player who almost didn’t crack the playoff roster, and then began to sing his praise deservedly.

Someone help me out here?

Does Ole, ole, ole, when translated mean, “hey Mats Sundin! We see you didn’t come to Montreal and are there any good tee-off times left?”

 

(Note from Dennis: What the hell does the last two sentences mean?)

 

 

Malkin Blasts Away For Pittsburgh. He Must Have Heard About Bobby Rousseau. May 13, 2008

When Pittsburgh star Evgeny Malkin skated in alone and surprised everyone by blasting his slapshot by Flyers’ goalie Martin Biron from only about ten feet out, I knew it was time to pull out my old scrapbook.

It was circa 1965, and Montreal speedster Bobby Rousseau, a slapshot specialist and off-season golf pro in Ste. Hyacinthe, Quebec, was awarded a penalty shot one night in a game against Boston.

Rousseau grabbed the puck at centre ice, took it just inside the blueline, and to the surprise of everyone, including his coach Toe Blake and Boston goalie, Bruce Gamble,  wound up, fired, and scored.

Has a penalty shot or shootout goal ever been scored from so far out? I doubt it.

So when you see breakaways next year, or all the shootouts and penalty shots, ask yourself why the players don’t just tee up and blast away every so often. The goalie is not in the least expecting it.

Like Malkin did the other night. And like Bobby Rousseau did those many years ago.

 

 

 

Sure There’s Interest In The NHL Playoffs. You just Have To Go Looking. May 8, 2008

The NHL conference finals begin tonight when Dallas clashes with Detroit, and tomorrow, when Pittsburgh and Philadelphia get at it. I’m sure there are still a few fans left who care.

Folks on the Canada’s west coast stopped watching hockey more than a month ago, when their Vancouver Canucks imploded and missed the post season.

Folks in Alberta got a few games of excitement in before the Flames bowed out to San Jose, but Edmonton fans could’ve cared less about that anyway.

Folks in Ontario started checking out cricket and full-contact knitting a long time ago, when the Leafs and Senators did what they do best, and that is look feeble when spring rolls around.

And Habs fans in Quebec and elsewhere are still recovering from the disappointment of not seeing their team march on toward the big prize. (me, for example).

A few people in Nova Scotia will continue to watch because local boy Sidney Crosby is still at it.

Fans in Russia will have to work hard to see their boys Evgeny Malkin and Pavel Datsyuk perform because if you’ve ever been to Russia, you’ll know what I’m talking about when it comes to getting games on TV.

Fans in Sweden will see Johan Franzen and Henrik Zetterburg, but only if they set their alarm clocks for the middle of the night.

Probably, though, hockey fans in Russia, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Finland are more excited about the World Championships than they are about round three of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

And people in the US don’t like hockey, or at least that’s what I keep hearing. You know, on the popularity lists we hear about from time time based on TV ratings, hockey is just after badmonton, bowling, ping pong, tiddly winks, and marbles in most states.

However, Philadelphia has their big-time fans. I know this because I heard from most of them during the Montreal series. Pittsburgh fans will also like what they’re seeing, as do folks in Detroit and Dallas.

Detroit is a big-time hockey city, and Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have a long and healthy history of the game.

Dallas is a curious one, though. This is football and basketball country. And barrel racing. But somehow, a couple of hundred thousand Texans embraced the game of hockey.

Of course, hockey’s been around for years in Texas, mostly in the form of minor league teams like the Dallas Blackhawks and Austin Ice Bats, or the Houston Aeros of the long-defunct World Hockey Association. So love of the game is there, but how much?

I suppose, when you think about it, when you have a state with a population of 22 million, you’re bound to find a couple of hundred thousand hockey fans, many of whom go to actual games.

Even when the rodeo’s on.

FOOTNOTE:

I know exactly that’s there’s rabid fans in New York state. Faithful reader (which I appreciate so much)Danielleia in Buffalo, for example, loves her Sabres. And years ago, I mentioned the Rangers on a subway in New York City, and some guy who thought I was saying bad things about his team wanted to punch me out.

( I wasn’t saying bad things about the Rangers. I only said I wouldn’t mind going to a game. You have to be careful on New York subways.) 

 

 

A Couple Of Tweaks Here And There And The Habs Will Get Serious Next Year May 4, 2008

Rick the Trucker emailed me and told me the Bell Centre crowd started singing that wretched Ole song late in the game when the score was tied 4-4. And not long after the song started, the Flyers scored, of course.

I’ve been saying it all year. I hate that song. I despise it. I cringe when I hear it. I think it pumps the other team up.

If you know anyone who goes to games at the Bell Centre and sings this, please take them out to the country and throw them off a bridge. Or at the very least, rip their vocal cords out with a pair of pliers.

So what went wrong?

Although there’s lots of good about the Montreal Canadiens, why did Philadelphia win?  And why did Montreal almost blow the Boston series?

Why aren’t they ready yet?

Did Bob Gainey get rid of Cristobal Huet a little premature?

Was Carey Price exhausted?

Did the Habs burn out in the regular season going for the coveted first place overall?

Did they go into the playoffs a little too cocky?

Why did the defence disappear during the playoffs? Hamrlik, Komisarek Gorges, Bouillon, all solid as a rock beforehand, and too soft in the post season. And Andrei Markov, a premier defenceman in the league, didn’t play at all like a premier defenceman.

What about Michael Ryder? Will he stay or will he go? He’s going to have to go. They didn’t want him in uniform in the playoffs, so why would they want him in uniform next year?

Why did the big guns become quiet? Alex Kovalev played quite well, and so did Saku Koivu when he came back from injury.  But what happened to the Kostitsyn’s, and Mark Streit, and Tomas Plekanec? Or Higgins and Latendresse? These were guys who turned it down a notch in the playoffs, and hopefully it was such an experience this year, that next year, they’ll turn it up a notch.

Will I be chosen as flag guy at the Bell Centre next year?

Will Danielleia stay a Habs fan?

Will der Habinator buy a new computer?

Will Mike continue to experience ups and downs as an elevator mechanic?

 

 

The Philadelphia Flyers Got It Done. Montreal Didn’t. May 3, 2008

I’m at work this evening, and I watched the scores come in from the computer, so I know without going home to see the recording, what happened. It’s a very disappointing time. Montreal couldn’t get it done. But they’re a young team with lots of positives, and next year will be better.

Philadelphia deserved this series. How could they not? They took out the Habs in a measly five games. Their goalie was better than our goalie. RJ Umberger was better than Alex Kovalev.

How could Montreal allow three goals in three minutes when they were up 3-1? I dunno. I didn’t see it. And I’m not going to watch it when I get home because I don’t feel like it.

To all the die-hard Flyers fans that have been reading my blog, I say good for you and your team, and I hope you’ll read my stuff from time to time as I’ll be posting every day year round. You guys had some great comments and feedback, and you definitely added a lot of colour to this. All’s fair in love and war.

And to the great Habs fans who have been faithful readers as we took this gigantic roller coaster ride, I know you’ll continue to check in. There’s lots to talk about. We gotta figure out together how to make our team better.

So back to work for a few more hours, then the long drive home. I’m not feeling on top of the world right now, that’s for sure.

Hoping to hear what went wrong. Please let me know.

 

Kate Smith Was One Of The Better Players On The Flyers May 2, 2008

 This is Kate Smith. Born 1907 in Virginia, died 79 years later in 1986.

Kate used to sing God Bless America at Philadelphia Flyers games in the 1970’s. Sometimes she was on tape, and from time to time, she actually showed up live and in the flesh. The Flyers won two Stanley Cups with her singing, and they thought she was their good luck charm.

Kate was one of their best players. At least more civilized than Dave Schultz and his fellow goons who took thuggery to a new level, something which the much more talented players around the league were not accustomed to. It’s pretty hard to show your skills when you’re looking at a sucker punch when you least expect it.

And she was much better looking than the Sign Guy with his frizzy hair who held up silly signs for every occasion during Flyers home games.

This gangsterism lasted a mere two years. The Flyers tried it in the 1975/76 series against the Habs and learned quickly that muscle and skill is much better than just muscle. Schultz and the boys were no match for Larry Robinson, Serge Savard, and of course Lafleur, Lemaire, Shutt, Dryden et al. Montreal took over, and this ridiculous reign of terror came quickly to an end.

And the Flyers have done very little ever since.

So it wasn’t Kate Smith. It was simply that Montreal showed the Flyers how real hockey was played.